Amtrak is investing $7.3 billion in a new fleet of state-of-the-art trains, including some of its first hybrid-electric powered trains, to modernize its aging fleet and attract more travelers, the company said Wednesday.
The company is buying up to 83 new trains that will operate mostly along the Northeast Corridor. They will also run the long distance Palmetto line from New York to Miami as well as some state-supported routes, replacing Amtrak’s Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned equipment on certain routes across the country. Some of the new trains servicing the New York region will also be powered by Amtrak’s first hybrid-electric batteries to cut back on air pollution.
“These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement. “This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while deeply reducing criteria pollutants.”
As Covid-19 restrictions ease, travelers are not only starting to board more flights. Train ridership continues to improve — approaching 60% of fiscal year 2019 levels. Over Fourth of July weekend, demand reached 80% of what it was two years ago, the company told .
In addition to the Northeast Regional, other routes that will be serviced by the new fleet include the Adirondack, Carolinian, Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service (Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer), Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia Services.
The new trains will include remote monitoring and fully integrated digital diagnostics as well as more comfortable seating, individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, larger vestibules, digital seat reservations and navigation display systems, the company said.
The new state-of-the-art fleet will be manufactured by Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif. Amtrak expects the upgrades will add more than 1.5 million riders annually. The investment includes a parts supply and service agreement as well as facility modifications and upgrades.
“California’s innovation economy is coming roaring back, and this $7.3 billion contract – one of the biggest of its kind – represents good paying jobs and further proves that California is a great place to do business,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
‘s Seema Mody contributed to this article.